What You Need to Know to Become a Personal Trainer in the UK

August 1, 2016


You may love the health and fitness industry, you may be one of the fittest individuals around the block, and you may even have won a few competitions here and there and take pride in your body, your health, and your way of life. Congratulations if that is the case. If it is your wish to become a personal trainer in Britain, you’re off to a great start. But that certainly isn’t all you need to accomplish. There’s a lot more to it than that.

Don’t worry about your age. However old you are, you’re not too old to become a personal trainer. In fact, greater longevity will probably be an advantage, because clients are more likely to pay for the training services of someone they perceive as being wise and experienced than someone who is younger and attractive but seems like they won’t know as much. It’s like in the boxing movies like Rocky and Creed, you always see the young athlete seek out the mentorship of an aged individual much older than them, not someone young and pretty.

Being a successful PT is about knowledge, communication, dedication, and commitment to the cause. It’s about enjoying helping other people make their lives better. If you are a despondent and uncharismatic individual, you might find it hard to retain clients as a personal trainer. People want a PT with some passion and personality, someone who they feel cares for them as a person instead of just as a client who pays them money. You need to try to develop a very positive and friendly state of mind.

Do you want to reach that state of mind and build a career for yourself as a PT? Here’s what you need to know to become a personal trainer in the UK…

The characteristics

It’s not necessary to hire a personal trainer yourself, but having undergone some PT sessions of your own will certainly help to give you a better understanding of what precisely is expected of you, as you will need to possess some specific characteristics. Here’s a small round-up:

  • An outgoing and friendly personality

  • High levels of charisma

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Good organizational skills and the ability to plan sessions and fitness campaigns

Know what you want

There are different kinds of qualifications that personal trainers and fitness coaches can achieve, and as with all the options available, it’s smart to think things through and have a clear understanding of what exactly you want to do with your career as a trainer. Fitness and exercise are growing industries, but also highly competitive ones. One thing to consider is whether you want to work with gym equipment or establish your own exercise programme. There are also specific and specialised fields depending on what sort of clients you envision yourself training.

You could become a personal trainer who specializes in obesity, diabetes and weight management issues and who gets overweight clients sent to them by the NHS. You could become a PT who specialises in strength and conditioning and trains clients to get bigger and stronger by lifting weights. You could become a PT who specialises in pre and post-natal exercise and works with women before and after they give birth to help them maintain their fitness and recover their body shape.

Where to get the qualifications

There are several institutions and private sector organizations that offer courses, certificates and qualifications for personal training, but not all of these awards allow you to practice professionally.

You need to do a course that is accredited by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), only then will you be able to get insurance to work as a PT in Britain. Without insurance, no fitness establishment will hire you as an in-house personal trainer or let you rent their facilities for use training your own clients.

Another great way to start is by taking training courses at gyms and then entering work-place programmes such as the National Vocational Qualification for Personal Trainers.

Becoming a personal trainer, like becoming a teacher, isn’t for everyone. Especially not when we’re talking about a subject which many modern people struggle with: personal health and life motivation, as Discovery Learning, a specialist in personal trainer courses, will tell you.

What the job will be like

If you become a personal trainer, you should be aware that you’ll probably start out earning not a great deal of money. You need to be patient and spend a few years learning the business, building your own client base, and getting good at finding new clients and marketing your services.

You’ll start to earn the big bucks when and if you manage go it alone and establish your own fitness brand with your own company logo and website and other personal trainers working for you.

If you want to go into business for yourself right from the start and don’t like the idea of being an in-house trainer for a fitness establishment, then you should still start out by renting a spot in a health and fitness club, if not actually working for them, simply because you’d then be able to find clients from among their regular patrons.

Many new personal trainers who make the mistake of going it alone completely after getting qualified find that they’re unable to find clients, unable to make ends meet, and so they give up on their fitness career.

Personal trainers also need to be prepared to work at odd hours and spend plenty of time preparing in private (lesson plans, travel time, and so on).

In the end, it’s all about promoting the good, and encouraging others to follow in your footsteps. In fact, it’s about leading others into an area they have never been before. Can you do that? Of course you can!

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